Statement of Purpose

I plan to apply in a few months for admission in fall 2011. I don't really know what to write as a statement of purpose and am wondering if anyone has any advice. My main issue is, I don't know for sure what 'demographic' i want to work with in the long run, as far as adults/kids, medical/school, etc. I seem to think I would prefer working with adults in a rehabilitation setting, but I am flexible and think for me it would be best to keep my options open and see where my studies take me. Is that acceptable to say, that you don't have a definite plan of which setting you want to work in? Most of the schools I plan to apply have programs that encompass a lot of both medical and school settings. However some (like Queens College) focus mostly on schools. Should my statement for that college say I want to work in schools, even if i'm not *sure* I want to?

Also, I don't have what I'm sure are typical reasons for pursuing speech pathology. I don't have any children, relatives, or friends with a language disorder. I don't have a language disorder myself. I didn't have a traumatic injury that cause me to go to an SLP. Basically, I love the field, I have always been interested in language, I want to have a fun and rewarding career, and know I would be great at it. I'm just stressing out because I know to get into grad school you have to have a great SOP, along with everything else. If anyone has any advice regarding this I would appreciate it. Thanks in advance!
(Anonymous)
I applied and stated that I didn't know what population I really wanted to work with since I had no experience in SLP, and that the reason I was interested was that I was a linguistics major and it seemed fascinating and it would let me work with many different people and in different settings. Well, I also said I was interested in accent reduction, but my point is to say what you feel. If your reason for wanting to become an SLP is simply because it's interesting- say that! It's actually better to have a reason that isn't just "i/my friend/etc worked with an SLP once and it seems cool."
(Anonymous)
I also forgot to mention- you can say you think you're more interested in working with children/whatever, but you aren't sure since you don't have a ton of experience with SLP. It isn't going to kill your application. Actually, the admissions director for the program I'm going to (Vanderbilt) actually told me they prefer when people come in with open minds as to what population they want to work with.
Thanks for your response. I'm actually interested in accent reduction as well!

How do you like Vanderbilt? (assuming you started there already) I am VERY interested in their program, it's definitely at the top of my list. If you don't mind my asking, what was your GPA/GRE scores that got you in? Are you from Tennessee or out of state?
I was too lazy to log in before, sorry. I actually haven't started yet, my orientation begins in about 3 weeks! It was my top choice so I'm really excited to be going there. There's another member on here who's a 2nd yr student at Vandy who might be able to give you more insight- she was really helpful when I was posting a ton of questions on here a few months ago (if you scroll back you'll be able to find them).

My GPA was 3.44/4.0, but I applied fall of my senior year so it was a bit higher when I actually applied. I also graduated in 3 years rather than 4 so I'm sure my application looked crazy. Looking back on it, I'm sure they just thought I was totally weird and random, especially since my major was Linguistics, at a school that doesn't even offer that as a major...

Anyway, my GRE was 1160, writing 4.5. I was actually waitlisted first (at every single one of the schools I applied to, weird!) and then I visited and was accepted. I'm not from TN, I'm from NYC actually.

Feel free to ask me any more questions or PM if you want!
I would pm you, if I could figure out how. :-/

We have a lot in common! I'm from Westchester, NY. Kind of random to want to go to school in TN! I was in Nashville once before and it's a nice city. I went to undergrad in Arizona though so maybe I just like to be in a different environment for school lol.

I haven't taken the GREs yet, actually I just finished summer class so I plan to get back to studying for that so I can get that out of the way. My undergrad GPA (I have a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, more weird and random than linguistics I think!) is 3.59. I'm taking prerequisite classes now and so far have done very well in those. I know Vanderbilt doesn't require prereqs, but I'm taking them because I would like to have a background of some sort and most other schools do require them.

Do you have any experience in the field? Did you go for an interview when you visited?

Thanks for answering my questions! :)
I didn't take the GRE until November 3 and applied in December sometime, so don't worry! My only experience in the field whatsoever is having had speech therapy as a kid :) haha, so no, no experience! I didn't get officially interviewed when I visited, but yeah I was basically interviewed, they asked me a few questions. I highly recommend going to visit- I was sure Vandy was my top choice before I visited, but after I left I was so excited about Vanderbilt I couldn't wait to hear back. There were a ton of reasons to go that I hadn't even known about from just looking at the website and it really solidified my decision to go (once I was finally accepted).
Hey, we're almost the same person :) I'm applying for Fall 2011 admission (don't you just love the daunting app process?).

I, too, have my mind sort-of-set, specifically on working with kids and/or in a medical setting, but I'm in the conundrum in which I like 98% of the things I try/learn/observe in SLP.

I think it's perfectly okay to be honest about not being sure of a specific path as long as it doesn't come out as "Well, I don't really know what I wanna do..." but that much is obvious. I'm planning to say something along the lines of "I'm particularly interested in X population, but I'm excited to explore other client groups as well".

As for reasons for pursuing the degree...I'd say you're on the right track, and I've been told that "I/my brother/sister/relative has a language disorder" by itself isn't always the best thing to write in a SOP. (Some people have told me that it comes off as too "sob story", but I think it's just personal preference.)

I would think about what specifically interests me in language and other aspects (speech physiology? neuroscience? I'm throwing out a couple aspects that interest me as an example) of SLP and find an interesting way to articulate those reasons. Easier said than done, I know...I'm struggling with it all as well.

Hope this helps a bit! Good luck! (And P.S. I, too, am in love with Vanderbilt. ^_^)
Thanks for your help. I'm getting a better idea about what to write. I think being honest about my interests and goals will turn out a good SOP, after editing it about 1000 times of course.

It's nice to know another Vanderbilt fan! Hopefully we both have successful applications and will make it in for next year! Where are you from?
Ugh, I know...NOT looking forward to the editing process at all!

Thanks! It would be pretty funny if we both ended up at Vandy at the end, haha. I'm from Indiana and I'm studying at Purdue right now.
hello!
(Anonymous)
Hi! Someone introduced me to this site and I have suddenly become addicted... love all your posts! Yours caught my eye, saying you're at Purdue right now. I graduated from college in Indiana this May and am applying to the SLP program at Purdue. Are you doing the same? Would you go there for your Master's even after having gone there as an undergrad? I'm finishing up applications right now and HATING myself and CDSCAS, haha... Best of luck to you!
What my professors told me when I was in your position is that it isn't problematic to not be sure of your intended track when you apply to grad school, but a concern for them is when applicants aren't able to demonstrate that they've taken actions to explore the options. Think of it not only as your chance to discuss what makes you passionate about the field, but also to provide examples of how you are a self-motivated and proactive candidate.
just to add my own 2 cents, when i applied to grad school, it was because i had been working with bands for about 5 years. my friends would go on tour, and if a guitarist broke a string during a set, the drummer would play a solo, the singer would tell some lame jokes, and after changing the string/changing guitars/borrowing a guitar from another band, the show would go on. but if after 9 straight nights of shows the singer lost his voice, there went their livelihood. moral of the story, i went to grad school specifically for voice disorders - can't say there are too many of us floating around! then i went to grad school and discovered dysphagia, and now i'm a medical slp in a sub-acute setting. bottom line, i don't know that there actually is a "typical" reason for pursuing slp - if you're passionate about the field, go for it! and don't let anybody feel like you'll be any less of an slp for not fitting into somebody's box. boxes are boring. =)
there were loads of SoP questions this time last year. try the "sop" tag. i think there are actual examples. good luck!
I'm in the same boat! Non-SLP background applying for Fall 2011 and currently working on my SOP. I'm going for the direct approach (not sure if it's the right way to go about this, but I'm not much of a "fluff" person).

I have included information on how I first got interested in SLP, what I've been doing to further that interest (observation hours, volunteering, etc), how my non-SLP background will be relevant to the field and how it will benefit my career as an SLP, and describing a couple of areas I'm interested in but also acknowledging that I have a lot to learn and am excited to explore other areas of the SLP field. If I have experience with the school, I'm throwing that in there too, and if there is something in particular that has drawn me to that school's program I'm going to make sure that gets mentioned.

I had a lot of trouble getting started with mine. It helped to sit down, with no expectations, and just start typing random things: what I did during volunteer time this week, things I enjoyed about my job, things I didn't enjoy about my job, something I learned while observing an SLP, etc etc etc. Really, anything that popped in my head even if it didn't seem direcctly relevant, I wrote it down. In the end, I had about 4 pages of short, random paragraphs. But in reading through them, I could better see how my current job/skills/education could relate to my interests/experiences with SLP, and I was able to start organizing my thoughts.

I'm probably rambling, but I hope this helps. The application process is going to be brutal enough without an SOP holding everything up!